Wide Left: Revamped Vikings offense needs to be re-revamped

Any other Vikings fans feel the way Blair Anderson does?
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Kevin Stefanski

Offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski (left). 

Wide Left is written by Vikings superfan Blair Anderson, who convinced Bring Me The News that it was a good idea to give him a platform to unleash his emotions. Blair isn't happy after a 16-6 loss to the Bears. 

At the beginning of this season, the Vikings' offense was supposed to be new and improved. They had a new scheme that was going to help them control the ball against even the toughest defenses. They incorporated plans that Kirk Cousins could utilize to make his life easier. They had elite receiving weapons and an offensive line that was supposed to be functional. Things were looking up.

But watching the game on Sunday afternoon, things didn’t have that feeling. Instead, they were all heading in the wrong direction.

That’s because on Sunday, the Vikings saw what a real contending team looks like. They had a defense that put the clamps on an opponent and got them off the field when the opportunity presented itself. They had a quarterback that managed the game and didn’t piss himself when there was a sniff of pressure. They had a Plan B when the running game stalled. To Mike Zimmer, this had to be next level stuff.

Which seems to be the problem with the Vikings offense. The Vikings went into the offseason knowing that what they tried last year against the Bears defense just wasn’t going to work. They revamped almost everything to make their offensive line and Cousins more comfortable and on Sunday those changes bombed in three facets.

Offensive line

Does anybody feel like this is groundhogs day? Because with all the changes with the offensive line, it seems like the unit is in the same damn place it was last season. Everyone seemed overpowered by a Chicago front seven that was missing three starters and even as people on Twitter will whip out tape of Garrett Bradbury destroying a guy on one play, the other 40 or so that the Vikings ran saw him backpedaling to go apologize to Cousins for letting him get drilled again.

This wasn’t limited to the interior offensive line, however. Big 2016 free agent signing Riley Reiff disappointed again, getting his lunch money, car and house taken by Khalil Mack and company, which doesn’t bode well for the quarterback who legitimately needs EVERYTHING to go right.

Even the mind games of the vaunted Gary Kubiak scheme couldn’t get things going as the Bears were unamused with trap blocks and zone schemes while deciding to punch someone in the mouth. In the end, something needs to change, but at this point of the season, it might be too late.

Quarterback

Oh, man. You see two weeks ago, thoughts started to creep into my head about Cousins not being the answer. I thought “You know, maybe this is just one bad game and he’ll bounce back. It happens to everyone.” My thought was true except for this ALWAYS happens to Cousins.

Once again, Cousins faced a team with a pulse and was made to look like Spergeon Wynn had inhabited his body. He missed a WIDE OPEN throw to Adam Thielen that would have given the Vikings an early lead. He then spent the rest of the afternoon looking for his keys while the Bears relentlessly slapped the ball out of his hands. I know they’re big, but how f*****g hard is it to hang onto the ball?

At this point, maybe Cousins should be placed in a bubble for perfect conditions. Hell, this guy complained about his center’s sweaty butt (when actually he should have been complaining about his pass blocking). And the best part is…we still have a year and a half to go!!! I think I need a bath. Where’s the toaster?

Play calling

Fun fact: In my spare time, I’m a huge wrestling fan. One of the hottest things right now is something called the Firefly Fun House. In this segment, one of the wrestlers mocks a children’s show and one of his puppets is in the resemblance of Vince McMahon with devil horns on top. Long story short, every time the wrestler tries something new and different, the old puppet comes out and threatens to fire him.

Hey, Zim. Does this sound familiar?

We all hated John DeFilippo and his inability to adapt is what sent him to the unemployment line last winter. But, Kevin Stefanski and Gary Kubiak are showing the same tendencies. As Dalvin Cook slammed into the back of his offensive line repeatedly, Zimmer told Tracy Wolfson at halftime that they had to keep pounding the rock, meaning he’d probably meet Stefanski in a back alley if he tried anything else.

Maybe, I’m just upset. Or maybe you should hear it from Adam Thielen (who if you hadn’t heard, once attended college in Mankato):

"At some point, you're not going to be able to run the ball for 180 yards, even with the best running back in the NFL.” Thielen told reporters after the game. “That's when you have to be able to throw the ball. ... You have to be able to hit the deep balls.”

Run-first approaches can work in the NFL, but they need to be complimented by a functional passing game. If the Vikings can’t figure out how to do these things, perhaps a Zygi Wilf puppet with horns will pop out of the shadows and tell Zimmer his services are no longer needed.

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